In their tenth annual Thanksgiving food drive, residents from Chestatee neighborhood in Dawson County collected 72 turkeys and hams, 400 cans and packaged goods and $8,041 in financial donations to benefit local nonprofit RIC-Rack.
According to Chestatee resident Hugh Holley, who helped to organize the food drive, each year that the neighborhood has held the drive they have managed to collect more donations for the food bank.
“When we originally started it was maybe like 15 or 20 turkeys and that was all we collected,” Holley said. “But Chestatee has grown so much and the people just really wanted to do it, so we did it again and it worked out real well.”
Holley said this year, the real surprise was the amount of monetary donations that were collected.
“The most we’ve ever collected in the past is around $5,000 last year which surprised us too because of covid,” Holley said. “It was outstanding; I don’t know that anybody has ever collected that much out of Chestatee and we did it in a week when we normally take two weeks.”
According to Holley, he and his neighbors in Chestatee are grateful for the opportunity to give back to their local community.
“The thing is, people like to give local,” Holley said. “Most of us came from Atlanta or Alpharetta or bigger communities, but here you really have to rely on the individual homeowners and community members to support these types of programs, so to see that return is just great.”
Throughout the year, Chestatee residents participate in other fundraisers, like the Backpack Buddies program which provides snacks and other items to children in the community. Holley said that he loves being part of a neighborhood like Chestatee that is so generous toward other people in the county.
“We are obviously just very very pleased with the generosity of our community and how they reach out for a lot of different causes,” Holley said. “It’s a pleasure to be involved with them; they usually surprise me every time.”
Holley added a special thanks to the Chestatee residents who served on the drive committee and who helped with pick up and drop off: Dianne Huthhwaite, Jim Harvey, Coley and Steve Patton, John Zimmerlee, Shari and Peter Paglio, Heather Warner, Wayne Smith, Rheta and Randy Johnson, Tom Jayroe, Alan Zubay, Bette and Dale Holland, Frida and Jim Murray, Barbara and Bill Dumont, Melody and Joe Parola, Linda and Larry Freeland, Kathy Cretney, Heather Warner and Phyllis and Hugh Holley.